The Guardian, March 11th 2003, p.6
Tony Blair, speaking to the NHS Modernisation Board, yesterday renewed his commitment to reform of the NHS with a pledge that record growth in spending on the health service will continue.
Public Finance, Mar. 14th -20th 2003, p. 20-23
A market is re-emerging in UK health care, with mixed provision from public and independent sectors. Government envisages a system in which patients choose where they are treated, with providers competing on quality and waiting times. Prices for treatments will be fixed, with regional variations to cover higher costs in some areas.
Primary Care Report, vol. 5, Mar. 19th 2003, p. 16-19
Under the new system of financial flows there will be no price competition between hospitals since treatments will be paid for on the basis of nationally set tariffs. This payment by results system is intended to encourage hospitals to move to more cost-effective practices, and to facilitate patient choice. It enables money to follow the patient, but may end up destabilising the finances of some unpopular acute trusts.
Health Service Ombudsman
London: TSO, 2003 (House of Commons papers, session 2002/03; HC 399)
Found that health authorities had been using over-restrictive local criteria between 1996 and 2001 to decide whether people were eligible for NHS funding for care in nursing homes. The criteria used were out of line with Department of Health guidance and with the Coughlan judgement. As a result patients have had to pay for their own care when the NHS should have paid for it. The NHS should now reimburse patients or their estates.
The Independent, March 21st 2003, p. 16
Clinical negligence claims against the NHS soared last year by £800m and the total bill the Health Service faced leapt from £4.4bn in March 2001 to £5.25bn in March 2002, an increase of 19.3 per cent according to the National Audit Office. Such a rise is a serious drain on the health service and could slow its growth.
Health Service Journal, vol. 113, Mar. 20th 2003, p. 28-29
The NHS Plan published in 2000 promised £300m by 2004 to replace outdated equipment. So far £208m worth of equipment has been delivered through central programmes. However all MRI scanners and linear accelerators delivered so far have been funded by the National Lottery. Even when the programme is completed the NHS will be poorly equipped compared with its European counterparts.